Ludwig the Kelheimer

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Ludwig I (* December 23, 1173 in Kelheim ; † September 15, 1231 ibid) was Duke of Bavaria from 1183 and Count Palatine of the Rhine from 1214 . In 1226 he was also made an imperial governor . He belonged to the Wittelsbach family . Ludwig founded several cities and was able to expand the sphere of influence of his house at the expense of other sexes. He received the nickname of the Kelheimers because he was assassinated in Kelheim.


Origin and beginning of rule

Princely images of Scheyern monastery: The murder of Ludwig Kelheimer

Ludwig was born in Kelheim in 1173. At the age of ten he succeeded his father Otto I as duke. His mother Agnes and his uncles Konrad and Otto led the government for him until they came of age.

Duke and Imperial Governor

In the summer of 1192 he received in the presence of Emperor Heinrich VI. the sword line . A little later, the emperor saved the duchy for him when he ended the Bavarian feuds over settled fiefs with a word of power and sided with Ludwig. Until the death of Henry VI. Ludwig remained a loyal supporter of the emperor and accompanied the Staufer to Italy in 1194 on his second campaign to conquer the kingdom of Sicily , which Heinrich's wife Konstanze could claim as sole heir. In the controversy for the throne after the death of Emperor Heinrich VI. he remained one of the most important supporters of Heinrich's younger brother, the Staufer Philipp von Schwaben .

With a clever policy and skilful marriage, Ludwig continuously expanded his influence and his foundations of power and thus established the rise of the Wittelsbach family as one of the most important princely families in the empire. Above all, he was able to assert himself against the powerful bishops of his region who sat in Freising , Regensburg , Salzburg , Passau and Augsburg . Ludwig's importance lies not least in the founding of cities. He founded Landshut in 1204 , Straubinger Neustadt in 1218 and Landau an der Isar in 1224 .

Otto IV's document on the hereditary enfeoffment of Ludwig with Bavaria, issued on November 15, 1208. Munich, Bavarian Main State Archives, Kaiserselekt 593

After the assassination of King Philip in Bamberg in June 1208, the Staufer party turned to the Guelph Otto IV , who was now the sole ruler of the empire from 1208 to 1211. Ludwig was the first member of the Staufer party to move to Otto IV's camp - he managed to convince Otto IV that not only his cousin Count Palatine Otto VIII but also Bishop Ekbert von Bamberg from the Andechs-Meranien family planned the Bamberg assassination attempt and ran. Ludwig confiscated the property of the Andechs-Meranien family in Bavaria. Ludwig kept the goods even after his claim had clearly proven to be false. After the Bamberg regicide, Ludwig was able to take over most of the estates and bailiffs of the Duchy of Meranien . Furthermore, Otto IV. Ludwig confirmed the inheritance of his dignity as Duke of Bavaria. At Pentecost 1212, Ludwig's son Otto married the Welfin Agnes von der Pfalz, the heir to the Guelph landed property in the Palatinate. Since Emperor Otto IV had confirmed the inheritance of the Duchy of Bavaria, Ludwig laid the foundation for the centuries-long Wittelsbach rule in Bavaria as well as for the beginning of rule in the Palatinate.

But in the autumn of 1212 Ludwig moved back to the Hohenstaufen camp as a member of the Hohenstaufen king Friedrich II . In 1214, Ludwig was enfeoffed with the Palatinate County near the Rhine. From now on he was allowed to use the lion in the coat of arms. Around 1220, under his rule, the construction of the remains of the Herzogshof in Regensburg on the old grain market began .

In 1221 he took part in the Fifth Crusade to Egypt . There he was captured by Sultan al-Kamil in August and was later released for a ransom. Back in Germany he became guardian for his son King Heinrich (VII) in 1226 at the request of Frederick II . At the Reichstag in Augsburg in July 1226, Ludwig was given the office of Reichsgubernator . It failed the following year in the conflict between the Staufers and the Guelph Otto in an attempt to conquer Braunschweig .

On December 25, 1228 Heinrich got rid of Ludwig's guardianship and ruled independently. As a result, Ludwig's relationship with both his ward and the emperor deteriorated. Ludwig intrigued with the Pope against the Hohenstaufen dynasty, differences arose with the emperor on questions of church politics, while the conflict with Heinrich (VII.) In 1229 was even carried out with military means, with Ludwig on the defensive. Having come under such pressure, Ludwig retired to his Kelheim castle in 1230.

Death and succession

In September 1231 Ludwig was murdered on the bridge in the city of Kelheim. The unknown assassin was killed immediately afterwards. The reasons for the crime have not been conclusively clarified (also for this reason) to this day. It has been suspected on various occasions that the Hohenstaufen (i.e. Emperor Friedrich II. Or his son Heinrich (VII.)) Were involved in the murder. Ludwig's grave is in the Scheyern Monastery . His son and successor, Otto the Illustrious , had the bridge demolished the following year and converted the gate into a chapel . The ducal suburb then moved from Kelheim to Landshut.


Ludwig married the widow of Count Adalbert III in Kelheim at the end of October 1204 . von Bogen , Princess Ludmilla of Bohemia . She was the daughter of the Premyslid Frederick of Bohemia and his wife Elisabeth of Hungary. The marriage resulted in only one son, Otto II (1206–1253), who married Princess Agnes (1201–1267) in 1222, a daughter of Duke Heinrich of Saxony and his wife, Countess Palatine Agnes near Rhine.

Since the sons from Ludmilla's first marriage to Count Adalbert III. von Bogen died early, Ludwig's son Otto was able to secure rule over the county of Bogen and thus its white and blue diamond coat of arms for Bavaria.


Web links

Commons : Ludwig der Kelheimer  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sigfrid Färber: Regensburg, then, yesterday and today. The image of the city over the last 125 years . JF Steinkopf Verlag, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-7984-0588-3 , p. 21 .
predecessor Office successor
Otto I. Duke of Bavaria
Otto II.
Heinrich (II.) Count Palatine of the Rhine
Otto II.